Dixie Evans Interview

Presidents have museums. Rock stars (Elvis, the Beatles) have museums. Even criminals (John Dillinger) have museums.
Now strippers, or exotic dancers if you,.,will, have a museum. Called The Burlesque Hall of Fame and Nostalgia Historical Museum, it’s located at 29053 Wild Road, Helendale, California 92342.
Dixie Evans, widely known as the Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque, is the President of The Burlesque Hall of Fame.

Q – Dixie, was it expensive to get this museum of yours off the ground? Did you have private donations?
A – Jenny Lee who started the museum died in 1989, of breast cancer. I came out to help with the funeral and stayed on. It’s very expensive. My life savings have gone into it. I just bought a cape that belonged to May West. I do receive donations and lots of beautiful letters admiring me for preserving national, and American legends.

Q – You’ve made the observation that many dancers are looking to break into more mainstream entertainment areas, like movies and stage. Was that your dream, to be a movie star?
A – No. I just wanted to dance tap, but when I found out how much burlesque girls were making, I was happy in my field.

Q – Do most strippers prefer to be called dancers? Is stripper a derogatory term to a dancer?
A -We were never called strippers. We were called Feature Attractions, exotic dancers, stars. The word stripper became popular after David Rose’s album, The Stripper. It’s not a proper title to precede a star such as Sally Rand, Tempest Storm, nor Lili St. Cyr, who is considered one of the most beautiful women in America and did very elegant production numbers.

Q – Is the dancing today similar in any way to what you started out doing?
A – It’s not the same. It’s erotic dancing today. We had a gimmick.

Q – How old were you when you gave up the stage?
A – Forty-eight.

Q – I was told it’s very rare to see an exotic dancer still working at the age of 40.
A – Sally Rand danced almost into her 70’s. If you have an international name, the contracts still come.

Q – Marilyn Monroe’s lawyers tried to stop you from doing your show at one point, but didn’t succeed. Why did they want to put you out of business, and why weren’t they successful?
A – They sued because I was up-staging the name of a star of the first magnitude. They stopped because I would get more publicity and it would have been in violation of the First Amendment.

Q – Did you go out with Joe DiMaggio after Marilyn Monroe died?
A – No. I went out with Joe just after the divorce.

Q – You say you were arrested “lots of times.” How many times, and why?
A – Often. Famous people get arrested because it makes the news. It only happens during election time. They hound you when you’re famous. I was arrested over nothing. The next day the club would be packed.

Q – After you retired from the stage, and before you were involved with this museum, what did you do with yourself?
A – Marilyn Monroe’s death retired me into a terrible depression, and guilt. I wore a black wig, and did club dates in New York. Life was a terrible, awful depression.

Official Website: burlesquehall.com


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